Seniors skiing: info and tips skiing in old age

25/09/2022 - SnowTrex

As they get older, many seniors wonder if it’s wise to still get on the boards. Some have already given up skiing or cross-country skiing for years because they have been put off. Wrongly! If there is no medical reason why you shouldn’t (check it out!) and you follow a few basic principles, then nothing stands in the way of seniors skiing.

Seniors skiing – Françoise Stahel is the oldest participant in the Engadine Ski Marathon at over 80.


Prepare the body

On the health aspect: exercise in the fresh air is always good for you, but careful physical preparation is essential. Ski gymnastics has always been considered the ideal preparation. Walking, aerobics and any other sport that also involves sufficient stretching are also useful. Skiing itself helps to improve balance, strength and endurance, dexterity and coordination of movement.

Check your equipment

A lot has changed in terms of material over the decades. The alpine ski is much more manoeuvrable than it used to be. This reduces the strain on the knee joint in particular. Cross-country skis have also become shorter: In the past, they were often over 3 m long, but today they are geared to the height of the cross-country skier. In addition to a helmet (at least for alpine skis), optimal equipment includes high-quality wind- and waterproof high-tech clothing made of microfiber and fleece.

Skiing as a senior: the right equipment is extremely important.

Look for role models

Role models are always an incentive – like Françoise Stahel (see first picture). She is probably the model athlete when it comes to winter sports in old age. Since 1969, the 80-year-old has taken part in every race of the Engadine Ski Marathon. No other woman in the world has taken part in this cross-country skiing competition more often than she has. She says quite clearly: “I’m already feeling the age, especially in the morning I sometimes feel a bit stiff.” But her ardent passion for winter sports is stronger and so the French-born athlete still trains regularly. “After every run, I feel on an incredible high.”

Finding the right ski resort for seniors skiing

Best agers’ demands on a ski resort are different from those of the younger generation. A clearly laid out ski area with a large proportion of blue and red as well as wide pistes is ideal for alpine skiing. It’s better to choose a smaller ski area than one with huts blaring techno music around the clock. Peace and quiet, magnificent views and delicious food – these are the demands that the older generation places on when it comes to lunch breaks. Ski resorts that meet these criteria in Austria include Berwang, Lofer and the Wildkogel Arena. In France, Saint Francois-Longchamp, Chamrousse, Châtel and Super Dévoluy are recommended. In Italy, Plan de Corones and Alta Badia are particularly appealing. And Switzerland offers the Schatzalp in Davos, a so-called “slow mountain”, a decelerated ski area where there is no artificial snow. Almost all of them offer ski pass reductions for seniors. Some also offer courses for beginners. By the way, a lot has also been done in terms of lift comfort in recent years. Many chairlifts have weather protection bonnets and some are even heated.

The Châtel ski area is ideal for relaxed skiing.

There are also plenty of options for cross-country skiers who don’t want to get too ambitious: In Germany, for example, the Berchtesgadener Land and the Oberstdorf region are recommended. In Austria, leisurely cross-country skiers get their money’s worth in the Stubai Valley and SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental, for example. And Italy’s No. 1 cross-country skiing region in Hochpustertal, with over 200 kilometres of trails, is also worth a trip.

Don’t overdo seniors skiing

When you are finally (again) at or on the mountain, a cautious approach is called for. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone, least of all to yourself. False ambition and unrealistic self-assessment are out of place. Take your time, take breaks, and admire the fantastic mountain world – that is the correct approach. In this way, skiing or cross-country skiing becomes an extraordinary pleasure and a delight for all the senses, even for the non-professional.

Always important when doing winter sports in old age: take breaks!

Let the day end in a relaxed way

The skiing is over, but the day is not over yet. How about a sauna or a swim? This is possible in a nice wellness hotel. In addition, soothing massages, beauty treatments and balancing fitness options are usually offered. For a day out or a stroll in the evening, there should be nice shopping facilities and good restaurants in the town. After all, relaxation and enjoyment after skiing are just as important as the skiing itself.

Why not end the ski day relaxing in the sauna?

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